Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Poetry Challenge – Mirror #Cinquain – Ritual of Mehndi by Sally Cronin

This week in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 161 we are treated to a photo prompt selected by Willow Willers which is stunning.

Image Willow Willers.

Mirror Cinquain – Ritual of Mehndi

This night
before we wed,
my hands reflect my joy
with designs applied with henna
and care.
may fade as will this rich pattern,
but not my love for you,
vivid and strong
for life.

©Sally Cronin

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge you have until Sunday: Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 161 photoprompt

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

Amazon US $4.53Amazon US

Thanks for dropping by and your feedback is always very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by #Nutrient – Part Three – Calcium to Manganese

Last week I posted  Part Two of this alternative shopping list by nutrient, as well as types of vitamins, water or fat soluble, and a basic list of essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy. At the end of the the posts, I will collate the foods into nutritional groups so that you can print off and refer to when doing your weekly shop.

I believe in eating, and eating all food groups, just moderating the amount that you eat based on your requirements. Your body knows how to process fresh food, raw and cooked from scratch. It is not designed to extract nutrients from manufactured foods which includes the majority that come in a packet, jar or can.

With that in mind here is part three of a shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick.

Last year we ran a series on nutrients and the symptoms of deficiency.. and Carol Taylor provided very tasty recipes using ingredients to make sure you don’t lack certain vital vitamins and minerals. Cook from Scratch to avoid Nutritional Deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor

Minerals the body needs and the foods you should add to your shopping list.

Calcium: The most abundant and essential mineral in the body. There are approximately two to three pounds mainly found in the teeth and bones. Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones it is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women. If you are at risk of kidney stones consult your doctor before taking in additional calcium supplements. This also applies if you are suffering from prostate cancer where there may be a link between increased levels of dietary calcium in dairy products and this form of cancer. It is thought it is thought that excess calcium causes lower levels of Vitamin D, which helps protect against prostate cancer.

The best dietary sources of calcium milk, cheese and butter, goats milk, sardines canned salmon with the bones, green leafy vegetables, spinach, watercress (more calcium than milk) tofu.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. A deficiency of the mineral can lead to diabetes and this is where the primary research into this mineral has been directed. It may help increase the healthy cholesterol in the blood (HDL) and is necessary for fatty acid and protein metabolism

Chromium first and foremost is a component of the ‘glucose tolerance factor’ which is required for maintaining a normal blood glucose balance. Chromium works with insulin to ease the absorption of blood glucose into the cells and it may also play a part in other activities that involve insulin such as the metabolism of fats and proteins. Find out more:

Best sources of chromium broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables, romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes, wholegrains, potatoes, oysters and other seafood, liver, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef and lamb also contain good amounts.

COPPER: Copper is an essential trace element needed to absorb and utilise Iron. It is needed to make ATP and is also to synthesise some hormones and blood cells. Collagen needs copper, as does the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a role in the production of skin pigment. Too much copper in the diet can depress levels of zinc and effect wound healing.

Best sources are seafood like oysters, cashews and other nuts, cherries, cereals, potatoes, cherries, vegetables and most organ meats.

Iodine: Iodine is a trace mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones that maintain metabolism in all the cells of the body. It is rare to be deficient in the western world but the key time to ensure that iodine levels are maintained is during pregnancy as deficiency of the mineral has been linked to miscarriages and premature births and congenital abnormalities. Children whose mothers were deficient in iodine can develop growth and mental issues and hearing loss. A moderate deficiency has also been linked to ADHD.

Best sources are in seafood, iodised salt and sea vegetables such as samphire. Also in fish such as cod, mackerel and haddock, eggs, live yoghurt and strawberries

Iron: The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin which helps muscle cells store oxygen and it is also essential for the formation of ATP.

Dietary iron is found in two forms, haem iron and non-haem iron. (Heme in US). Haem iron, which is the most absorbable, is found only in animal flesh as it is taken from the haemoglobin and myoglobin in animal tissue. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods.

Best food sources for haem iron are shellfish such as cockles and mussels, liver, meat, poultry and fish.  And for non-haem plant based sources whole grains and fortifed cereals, watercress, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, legumes, Sweet Potatoes tofu, pumpkin seeds, and tofu. Strawberries, tomatoes,watermelon, prunes and dried apricots.

Magnesium is essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP the fuel the body runs on. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium. It is needed to balance calcium in the body and too much can result in very low levels of calcium.

The best food sources are whole grains, beans, seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables, soybeans and fish.

Manganese is needed for healthy skin, bone and cartilage formation as well as glucose tolerance. Also forms part of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which helps prevent free radical damage.Only needed in small amounts but is essential for brain health (it may help prevent strokes), may prevent health issues associated with free radical damage such as heart disease and arthritis.

Best food sources are nuts, seeds, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, tea and pineapple.

Next time more minerals we need to be healthy and Amino Acids and Essential Fatty Acids you should include in your shopping list- and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty- two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here:







A lovely response to the Sunshine Blogger Award from Jan Sikes who was nominated by D.L. Finn, Gwen Plano, Ron Yates and myself. Jan selected three questions to respond to from each of us and great answers, including one of mine involving a biker bust up in Dallas…wow. #recommended

Writing and Music

I am beyond honored to receive several nominations for the Sunshine Blogger Award!!

Thank you, D.L. Finn, Sally Cronin, Ron Yates and Gwen Plano for the nominations!

That gives me 44 questions to answer and I’m not going to attempt to do that, so I am going to answer three questions from each blogger, focusing on the ones that are most relevant.

Gwen Plano asks:

  1. What motivates you to write? Honestly, the biggest motivation for me to write is a new inspiration for a story. If I am in the middle of one story and get a big idea for another, it takes all my patience to simply jot a few notes and keep going with what I am working on. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush I get when a new story idea arrives!
  2. Do you eavesdrop on your characters, or craft them to fit the…

View original post 1,234 more words

Whimsical Wednesday…with Carol…

It was Whimsical Wednesday yesterday on Carol Taylor’s Thai based blog and this week she shares some date related events.. Rorke’s Drift in 1879 and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901…plus a soup recipe, continuation of The Charade short story and Chinese New Year.. what a menu… enjoy

Retired? No one told me!

Hello and welcome to this weeks edition of Whimsical Wednesday…

January 221879
The event… Rorke’s Drift, Natal Province, South Africa…

I think most of us have seen the film, Zulu…

When this battle began there were just 139 British Soldiers and over 4,000 Zulu Warriors…I reckon the sight of those warriors was enough to strike fear into anyone’s heart…The Zulus are known for their strong fighting spirit.


People from the Zulu tribe are also known to be amicable and very warm. They are known for their practice and belief in Ubuntu which simply means “humanness” or “good disposition”. This humanness is a part of the daily life of the Zulu people. They believe human beings are the most superior of all species hence the strong belief in Ubuntu. They further cement this belief by having many proverbs relating to good and bad behaviour towards fellow human beings.


View original post 1,339 more words

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Shortstory – Ghosts in the Attic by Darlene Foster.

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post from Darlene Foster and was her short story  entry into Stevie Turner’s Short Story Competition for February 2019. I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.


Ghosts in the Attic by Darlene Foster

The attic above the barn sits empty. Some say it is haunted. Others say it is cursed.

The room is possessed with many stories.

When Jim and Alice bought the farm, they decided the attic would be a perfect place for the farm help to live. So they purchased some paint and fixed it up. Then they placed an ad in the local paper seeking someone who enjoyed working with horses.

Mature, buxom Gladys responded first. They showed her the spotless attic room smelling of fresh paint and polished linoleum. Gladys took the job and moved in the next day – with her seven cats. Alice warned Gladys to keep the cats confined to the barn. This was after they jumped up on the picnic table and ate the cream cheese dip she had put out for her croquet party guests. Gladys worked hard and knew her way around horses but had her own ideas about how to do things. After several disagreements with Jim, she packed her meager belongings and left, cats in tow. She left a note tacked to the barn door with a forwarding address to send her last pay cheque.

Gladys seemed unfamiliar with the concept of a litter box. Alice scrubbed the once pristine room thoroughly. Disgusted, she left the doors and windows open for days to get rid of the acrid smell of cat pee. Alice believed she could still smell it years later.

The next ad included, ‘No pets allowed’. Joy, a university student with a love of horses, became the second resident. Young and eager, she did a good job. A light shone from the attic late into the night while she studied. Occasionally a young man spent the night. Jim and Alice didn’t mind. Better than cats. One day Joy told them she was sorry but had decided to move into town with her boyfriend, to be closer to the university.

The attic didn’t take much cleaning. Although the wax on the floor caused Alice to shudder at the thought of candles burning in such a flammable structure.

Against his wife’s advice, Jim hired a writer with a bushy beard. Alice didn’t trust men with bushy beards, or writers. The man slept until noon every day and did only the basics of the job. Days went by without fresh food and water for the animals. He was soon asked to leave. The attic smelled like a biker bar. Crumpled pieces of paper mixed with stale crumbs and tin foil TV dinner containers littered the floor. They took two truckloads of empty wine and liquor bottles to the recycling depot.

Alice didn’t say anything but had that smug ‘I told you so’ look on her face.

Two women in cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and fancy boots drove into the yard one summer afternoon. Jo and Jean had been in the rodeo circuit for a time and knew a thing about horses. They told great stories sitting around the picnic table with Jim and Alice, sharing a cup of tea. One day, Jo approached the house in tears. Jean had left in the middle of the night. Jo sobbed uncontrollably and said she didn’t know how she could go on without Jean. Alice made her a cup of chamomile tea and tried to calm her down. She had never seen anyone so upset. Two days later Alice called the paramedics when she found Jo in the attic, passed out in a pool of her own blood. Alice and Jim hired someone to clean up the attic.

A couple in their forties showed up in a pickup truck with the job posting in hand. The wife, a meek little thing who made no eye contact, let her husband do the talking. He convinced Jim he was capable. Jim gave him the job.
Alice had a funny feeling. “She looks like a battered wife.”
“You watch too much Oprah.” Jim shook his head and walked away.
Things went well. The chores got done and the couple kept to themselves. Jim decided they were the best yet. Perhaps Alice should admit she was wrong.

One peaceful, sunny day while Alice washed dishes, she looked out the kitchen window and detected someone hiding behind the big apple tree. Sure enough, it was a man – with a gun. Alice tensed. Another man behind the car shed placed a megaphone to his mouth. “This is the police. Come out with your hands raised and no one will get hurt.”

The husband emerged from behind the barn and ran toward his truck. The police officers moved faster and seconds later he was in handcuffs. Alice never imagined she would witness an arrest in her own back yard. She needed more than a cup of tea to calm her down.

The plain-clothed police officers explained they received an anonymous call to the farm. The husband, known to them, had two previous charges of assault. After they took him away, Alice made her way up to the attic. The wife held her head and rocked back and forth, moaning. Her swollen right eye was turning an ominous purple. Alice offered to call an ambulance but the woman insisted she would be all right until her sister came to pick her up. Alice couldn’t stop shaking for days. Jim refused to talk about it.

Alice took over the hiring process.

Characters of all sorts paraded in and out of that attic over the years. Eventually, Jim and Alice got fed up and moved back to the city. Except for a few items left behind, the attic has stood empty ever since.

A chipped bookcase, holding dusty paperbacks waiting to be read, leans against one wall. A beaten up trunk remains in a dark corner; one item too many to be allowed on the next journey. A moth-eaten blanket, an assortment of old newspapers and a cowboy belt rest inside. A rusty, wrought iron headboard covered in spider webs, holds secrets of amorous nights and lonely days. Extreme happiness and deep sorrow ooze through the faded walls. A poster of Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’ hangs lopsided on one wall surveying the scene with wide-eyed wonder, and silently shrieks.

On windy, rainy nights, some say they hear sobbing. Others say they hear hideous laughter. Children say the attic in the barn is haunted. But don’t children always say that?

Image from

©Darlene Foster 2019

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Holland on Goodreads

Nov 16, 2019 Alex Baugh rated it Four Stars.

This is the third Amanda Travels I’ve read, and in it, Amanda, 12, is heading to the Netherlands to join her British friend Leah Anderson and her father, who is there on business. Of course, the girls are there to see the sights, learn about Holland’s history and culture, but Amanda has another purpose to be there. She would like to solve the mystery of what happened to her great uncle Harold, who went to the Netherlands with the Canadian army during World War II and never return home.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for sharing this story with us today and to you for dropping in… as always your feedback is very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 22nd January 2020 #Interview Kellie Butler with Judith Barrow, #Interview Jo Lambert with Jane Risdon, #Dogs by Debbie the Dog Lady

The first post is from the blog of Kellie Butler and is the recent interview with family saga author Judith Barrow, talking about her series set in the North of England about the Howarth Family (highly recommended).

Northern Reads featuring Judith Barrow

It’s Friday, and that means another edition of Northern Reads! I’m chuffed to have fellow historical fiction and saga author Judith Barrow on the blog today with her fantastic Haworth family trilogy, featuring one book set in Lancashire.

Welcome, Judith! Tell us more about the Haworth Family Trilogy.

The three books are historical family sagas, often described as gritty. Although they are a trilogy set around the same family, each book also stands alone. The first of the trilogy is Pattern of Shadows, set in Lancashire between 1944 and 1945. The story was inspired by Glen Mill, a disused cotton mill in Lancashire, which was the first German POW camp. Glen Mill brought back a personal memory of my childhood. My mother was a winder in a similar mill. I would often go to wait for her to finish work on my way home from school. I remember: the muffled boom of noise as I walked across the yard and the sudden clatter of so many different machines as I stepped through a small door cut into a great wooden gate; the women singing and shouting above the noise, of them whistling for more bobbins; the colours of the cotton and cloth. Above all I remember the smell: of oil, grease – and in the storage area – the lovely smell of the new material stored in bales. And the sound of the siren, announcing the end of the shift.

Head over to enjoy the rest of this interview: Northern Reads featuring Judith Barrow

Books are available: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Kellie on: Goodreads

About Kellie Butler

Kellie Butler is the author of Beneath a Moonless Sky, Before the Flood, and The Broken Tree, all part of the bestselling The Laurelhurst Chronicles series. Born in the deep south and educated at Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University, she has travelled and lived around the globe. Besides writing books, she enjoys knitting, yoga, cooking, hiking, classical film, her MSU Bulldogs, and her dog, Chippy. She lives in Arizona with her family.

Judith Barrow, buy: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Judith: Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow

Another great interview was conducted by Jo Lambert and her guest was crime writer Jane Risdon.

Author interview: Jane Risdon’s Life of Crime

Today I’m hosting fellow author Jane Risdon who has dropped in to chat about her work. I pitched a series of questions to her and these are Jane’s responses…
Jane with Only One Woman and Undercover: Crime Shorts

Hi Jo, thanks for asking me back on to your fab blog. I really enjoy visiting and discovering what you will ask me next. A challenge is always such fun. I do hope your readers enjoy my latest offering.

What attracts me to writing crime?

Well, for starters it is not the blood and guts or the horror of crime, whether it is a murder, fraud, or some other law breaking. I’ve had to think hard about this question but I think it is the puzzle at the heart of most crimes: who did it, how, why, and sometimes even when and where? They’re all questions I like to be asked as a reader, and which I endeavour to ask and eventually answer in my own writing.

I don’t write police procedures and I don’t get into the psychological why and wherefores with my characters. I lay a series of clues and red-herrings often, as the crime unfolds, and I try to keep the reader guessing, engaged and trying to solve it themselves right until the end.

I also read a lot of espionage thrillers for the very same reasons I love reading crime stories.

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating interview with Jane Risdon: Jo Lambert interviews Jane Risdon

Jo Lambert Books

I am the author of eight novels all based in the West Country. My first five novels collectively known as The Little Court Series, were linked books. Part historical/ part contemporary saga it covered forty years and followed the lives and loves of four young women – Ella, Issy, Rachel and Jenny. Last year I decided to withdraw these with a view to updating and republishing at some future date. The first, The Other Side of Morning has been reworked as a stand alone and republished under the new title Wicked Game. The others will remain a linked series and are currently a work in progress.

Books by Jo Lambert: Jo Lambert’s books

Jane Risdon, Buy:Amazon UK – And:  Amazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodreads

And now a post from Debbie the Dog Lady who asks a very important question…and one that requires careful consideration.

So you want to get a dog? Questions to ask yourself, first

Many people, often inspired by children’s pleas, movies or other media decide they want to get a dog, despite having no prior experience and without considering all the ramifications. This can lead to neglect, abandonment or worse.

Before plunging into dog ownership, please keep in mind these are living, loving beings who require a life-long commitment and should never, ever be “disposable”. Think of them as four-legged children and ask yourselves the following questions:

Do I genuinely desire a dog, or is this an impulse reaction to external stimuli?

Do I understand the costs involved?
(the dog itself, veterinary care including spay/neuter procedures,
food, dishes, treats, beds, toys, grooming, training, holiday boarding, workday walking, etc.)

To read the rest of the post and its questions: So you want to get a dog – The Dog Lady’s Den

About DebbieHello from Toronto!

Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet. Let me entertain you with memoirs, photos, travelogues, creative writing pieces, music galore and so much more.

I was born in Germany, now living in Canada. My mother was German and my father, Canadian of German descent. They met in 1953, during his first posting to her homeland, following a tour of duty in Korea. This makes me an “Army Brat”.

I speak English, German, some French, a little Italian and a smattering of Spanish. I love music, travel and of course dogs.

Connect to Debbie Twitter: @debbiedoglady – Facebook: Dog Lady’s Den – Instagram: The Dog Lady’s Den

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – I’m not just a writer, #Recipe -Peanut Cookies by Richard Dee.

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post from the 2019 archives of Richard Dee and he showcases his other skill… as a baker with a recipe for Peanut cookies..

 I’m not just a writer, Peanut Cookies

We writers tend to get obsessive over our craft, if we’re not careful we could talk about it all day, every day. And not everyone wants to hear all the little details of plot, characters and marketing successes and failures. Nor do they want to be bombarded with a constant and incessant ‘buy my book’, refrain.

I try and keep away from becoming too narrow in what I post or share about myself. I want people to see that I’m not just a writer. I like to spend my time doing other things, one of which is cooking. Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), I’m a sucker for an ingredient that I’ve never seen or used before, and will often buy something and then see what I can do with it afterwards.

I spotted this, I can’t remember where now, and my thought process went into overdrive, it’s pretty readily available, somehow I had never noticed it before. Now I see it everywhere, in various brands and sizes.

I’ve tried cooking with peanut butter before, it’s great mixed with Sweet Chilli sauce to make a coating for chicken or pork, however, I’d never had much success using it in anything that was sensitive to the amount of liquid in it. Like biscuits. For one thing, peanut butter is too wet and you have to modify the other ingredients and proportions to allow for that (if you can). So when I saw the powder, a whole new range of possibilities opened up.

My first idea was a peanut cookie. Now I know you can just add chopped peanuts to an ordinary cookie but I wanted to see what difference substituting some of this powder for the plain flour would make.


  • 175 g softened butter,
  • 200 g Plain flour
  • 50 g of the peanut butter powder,
  • 90 g Caster sugar,
  • 100 g roughly chopped salted peanuts


Cream the butter and sugar. Add everything else and work into a dough. Form the dough into a sausage and coat it with Demerara sugar. Wrap it in cling film and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Take the chilled dough and slice it into 2 cm discs, flatten them onto a baking sheet which has been dusted with more Demerara sugar. Keep them looking slightly rustic at about 1 cm thick.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, keep an eye on them, as soon as the edges start to brown, they are done. Take them out and let them cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

The addition of the powder made for a very short pastry and boosted the flavour. The biscuits melted in the mouth and were very hard to resist. In the end, I didn’t bother.

©Richard Dee 2019

About Richard Dee

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon, England He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. He contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection and is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

A small selection of  books by Richard Dee

One of the recent reviews for Andorra and Her Sister

Nov 12, 2019 Steven rated it it was amazing

Andorra Pett – space station café owner, scooper pilot and sometimes super sleuth – returns for another adventure. Andorra finds herself on Earth to sort out her ex, Trevor’s affairs following his grisly murder at the hands of a mobster on Mars.

Intending this to only be a brief stay to finalise affairs before returning to the space station orbiting Saturn and the comfort of partner Derek. Unfortunately, as ever, trouble manages to find her in the form of her estranged sister Tia. When she is arrested for smuggling through importers and money laundering she calls the only person she can for help – younger sister Andorra.

Suspecting from the start that something is amiss, not least Tia lacking the sense to pull off such a crime, Andorra cannot help but be drawn in to solve the mystery and see that justice is served. Smugglers, corrupt police and a chance run in with Clive – an old face from her first ever mystery – make for high jinks aplenty. He is found running what he claims to be an official Oort Cloud Café tribute bar complete with sleazy Andorra lookalike waitresses and slanderous tales of fictitious romances assuming Andorra will never hear of it way back in space.

Once again Richard Dee has delivered a wonderfully funny murder mystery with a cast of characters new and old to entertain readers. The mystery becomes farcical as it twists and turns to a conclusion. Andorra sees herself in her share of trouble and tight spots all in the pursuit of clearing Tia’s name. This third instalment of the Andorra Pett series is a wonderful addition and only makes me long for book four in 2020 that much more.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Richard: Goodreads

Connect to Richard

Website: Richard Dee’s Scifi
Facebook: Richard Dee Author
Twitter: @RichardDockett1

My thanks to Richard for sharing this recipe with us and they do look very irresistible…your feedback is always welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves -#Thriller How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6) by M. A. Edwards

Mary Anne Edwards has a new book out.. How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6)

About the book

Are you afraid of the darkness?

Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.


One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Robyn rated it Five Stars.

This is a phenomenal book with a lot of twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages. I love how Charlie and Marian are so in love and have a strong relationship and bond that no matter what they go through, they are always there for each other. The characters in this book are multidimensional, and it was wonderful figuring out the reasons they do what they do. I had my suspicions on who may have been the murderer, but I didn’t know who it was until the culprit was revealed. M. A. Edwards really knows how to write a story that captivates the reader from beginning to end. How Deep is the Darkness is a must read, and I highly recommend this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mary Anne Edwards

Read the reviews and buy the Books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Mary Anne on: Goodreads

About Mary Anne Edwards

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. Mary Anne released the sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, on December 2, 2019, with at least three more to follow.

Although Mary Anne is a middle-aged woman, she believes no matter how old you are you should have fun. Don’t let anyone steal your joy by telling you you’re too old. The main female protagonist in the Charlie McClung Mysteries is an interesting snapshot of the author’s sensibilities.

Mary Anne and her husband of 39 years live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Connect to Mary Anne Edwards

Website: Mary Anne Edwards
Facebook: Mary Anne Edwards
Twitter: @maeedwards58

Thank you or dropping in today and I hope you will head over to find out more about Mary Anne’s latest book.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the News- #Empathy #liver damage and pain killers by Sally Cronin

There are few of us who are not aware of the opioid drug crisis in our countries, but there are also side effects associated with some over the counter medication that nearly all of us will have in our bathroom cabinet. Often taking daily for chronic pain but certainly for several days at a time for acute pain.

How often do we reach for the paracetamol when we have a headache, migraine, aches and pains, influenza, PMS and toothache?

Recent research has highlighted a side effect that I believe is also feeding into the pain medication crisis we are facing. Because of the region of the brain that painkillers target.

I followed up on this recent post to check on the findings and was stunned by what I discovered. Daily Mail – Paracetamol and Empathy

  • The world’s most popular painkiller, taken by millions every day, blunts physical pain by reducing the flow of chemicals that make nerve endings sensitive.
  • But research suggests these chemicals circulate in brain regions that also control empathy and compassion.
  • Dominik Mischkowski, a psychologist at Ohio University, believes paracetamol, or acetaminophen, warp people’s personalities by dulling their emotions.

What interested me was that according to some sites… they don’t actually know definitively how paracetamol (acetaminophen) works. It is thought to suppress the activity of ‘pain messengers’ called prostaglandins in the central nervous system. This is assumed because of the relief that is felt wherever in the body the pain is situated. This implies that the pain messengers, sent to the brain to warn of danger to the body have been blocked.

If you read the insert for the various generic names for acetaminophen such as paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and Calpol for children, side effects are listed as rare but do include the following.

  • Rash
  • Reduction in levels of key blood cells including neutrophils that are essential white blood cells in immune system function
  • Also low level of platelets in the blood which are necessary for blood clotting.

However more concerning is the evidence that long term use of acetaminophen pain relieve can lead to toxicity and damage to the liver.

And one of the reasons for this is that the drug has so many uses and is available under various generic names.

So you have a muscle pain, you begin to suffer from a cold and you suffer from insomnia and you take the ‘safe’ dosage of three different medications. However you are now running the risk of toxicity and liver damage.


Whilst acetaminophen has not been associated before with addiction, when it is combined with other medication it produces a high. American Addiction Centres

More potent forms of acetaminophen, however, such as Tylenol 3, can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription, as it also contains a significant amount of codeine, another painkilling drug. Acetaminophen alone is not particularly habit-forming, but the codeine in Tylenol 3 can lead to dependency.

The codeine in Tylenol 3 can cause feelings of euphoria, which leads some people to misuse the drug. Tylenol 3 has also been shown to enhance the effects of other drugs, such as narcotics, alcohol, general anesthetics, tranquilizers, sedative-hypnotics, and other central nervous system depressants. Combining acetaminophen with any of these drugs increases the risk of experiencing the adverse side effects of each drug.

However, research would indicate that acetaminophen on its own, can impact the same part of the brain that is involved with our social interaction and impacting our ability to feel empathy  National Library of Medicine

Acetaminophen – a potent physical painkiller that also reduces empathy for other people’s suffering – blunts physical and social pain by reducing activation in brain areas (i.e. anterior insula and anterior cingulate) thought to be related to emotional awareness and motivation. Some neuroimaging research on positive empathy (i.e., the perception and sharing of positive affect in other people) suggests that the experience of positive empathy also recruits these paralimbic cortical brain areas.

We thus hypothesized that acetaminophen may also impair affective processes related to the experience of positive empathy. We tested this hypothesis in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment. Specifically, we administered 1,000 mg acetaminophen or a placebo and measured effects on different measures of positive empathy while participants read scenarios about the uplifting experiences of other people.

Results showed that acetaminophen reduced personal pleasure and other-directed empathic feelings in response to these scenarios. In contrast, effects on perceived positivity of the described experiences or perceived pleasure in scenario protagonists were not significant. These findings suggest that (1) acetaminophen reduces affective reactivity to other people’s positive experiences and (2) the experience of physical pain and positive empathy may have a more similar neurochemical basis than previously assumed. Because the experience of positive empathy is related to prosocial behavior, our findings also raise questions about the societal impact of excessive acetaminophen consumption.

How many paracetamol painkillers should we be taking?

You should not take more than eight 500gm paracetamol within a 24 hour period.

Check all other medication you are taking to ensure that you are not ingesting acetaminophen they contain as well and overdosing. Long term this can lead to toxicity and liver damage.

Always check with your doctor of chemist before taking paracetamol: NHS Paracetamol

  • have had an allergic reaction to paracetamol or any other medicines in the past
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • regularly drink more than the maximum recommended amount of alcohol (14 units a week)
  • take medicine for epilepsy
  • take medicine for tuberculosis (TB)
  • take the blood-thinner warfarin and you may need to take paracetamol on a regular basis

What are the alternatives?

If the pain is acute (short term) I will take paracetamol, but with more long term issues such as arthritis I prefer to look at alternative therapies.

  •  I take turmeric in capsule form and also in my food, it is an anti-inflammatory that is proving interesting for a number of chronic conditions and also brain health and I wrote and article on it last year. Cancer, Alzheimers, Curcumin, Turmeric
  • I successfully recovered from a knee injury with acupuncture and physiotherapy without taking painkillers.
  • I also use essential oils such as lavender, rosemary and tea tree oil.

If you are suffering from chronic pain then it is important that you consult a doctor diagnosing the cause. Conditions such as arthritis are clearly obvious, but internal pain could be down to a number of health issues that need thorough investigation.

Don’t spend weeks or months on over the counter painkillers that could be masking a serious condition that needs treatment.

Get checked out.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty- two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here:

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me here or on